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Multimedia Resumes Add Pizazz To Job Search

In the 2001 film Legally Blonde, the ditzy heroine makes a splash with a video of her qualifications for law school narrated from a swimming pool.

The bikini-clad sorority girl was spot on about one thing: Resumes printed on paper? As if!

San Jose State University student Josephine Chandra wrote and filmed her online resume for a class. Chandra graduates in May and is hoping her writing and video skills will land her a job.

Also on her Web resume is an unnarrated promotional video for the school's career center. When visitors click on Chandra's Web resume, they see a photograph of her smiling, next to her name at the top. There's text on her education and work experience, but also links to PowerPoint marketing campaigns. Some Web resumes even offer instant Web references.

These so-called social media resumes make use of all the bells and whistles of Web design, and they're being built for free at the online site VisualCV. It's one of many free resume-building sites, including Zolio and GigTide.

VisualCV founder Phillip Merrick explains why he is turning the stodgy curriculum vitae into something snazzier.

"The traditional flat resume doesn't get across any of your personality, and it certainly doesn't give you the ability to show what you've done versus tell somebody about work that you've done," Merrick says.

VisualCV also offers a social-networking community for job-seekers and employers. Applicants can see who checked out their resumes and connect with them. At other sites, users can critique one another's resumes.

San Jose State University senior Juan Escobar says sites such as VisualCV offer opportunities to network with people he wouldn't otherwise get.

"It's opening up the barriers of feeling, 'I don't have anything to talk about with this other person,' " he says. "But here's a tool I can use to reach out to people and start to get to know people."

Escobar has had more than 800 people check out his resume since he posted it six months ago. It no doubt helped that VisualCV featured his resume as one to emulate. He hasn't gotten a job offer yet, but he says he's feeling hopeful.

Oanh Ha reports for member station KQED.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Oanh Ha